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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE NOVEL OF NATURALISM AND DECADENCE   79

naturalism is confined to depictions of Munich in the loose sketches
of M. G. Conrad's Was die Isar rauscht and to a very comprehensive
series of Berlin novels. The latter, indeed, take in novels by writers
of the previous generation: PAUL LINDAU'S (1839-1917) trilogy Der
Zug nach dem Westen (1886), Arme Madchen (1887), and Spitmen
(1888); FRITZ MAUTHNER'S (1849-1923)Berlin W. (1886), HERMANN
HEIBERG'S (1840-1910) Dunst aus der Tiefe1 (1890). Novels such as
Karl Bleibtreu's Schlechte Gesellschaft fall under the heading ofKelt-
mrinmnromam\ these unroll unedifying pictures of the Bohemian
life of the capital (Strindberg's Koda Kumwet is the prototype of
the genre) with mighty-bosomed waitresses or barmaids towering
over quailing poets. Actually the Berliner 'Koman reaches its height
in two nostalgic descriptions of the Jewish life in the capital in
the days of crinolines: Jettchen Gebert (1906) and its sequel Henriette
Jacoby (1908) by Georg Herrmann; but since these novels are
Charakterromane rather than Milieuromane they belong to a later
chapter.

The naturalistic Kunstlerroman begins with Conrad Alberti's Die
Alien und die Jungen - a gifted artist, submerged by mediocrity,
dies by his own hand - and Bleibtreu's Grossenwahn* The latter
novel, grotesquely formless, satirizes the members of the Verem
Durch: the Hart brothers appear as 'die idealen Waffenbruder* (an
obvious hit at their Kritische Waffengange). These rambling novels
were not, however, Ktinstlerromane in the more exclusive sense of
the type created by WALTER SIEGFRIED (1858-1947), a Swiss mer-
chant, with his Tino Moralt (1890), which is clearly influenced by
Zola's UCEuvre. It is a study of frustration: the hero, an artist,
foiled in his relentless battle for perfection, loses his reason and
commits suicide. Tino Moralt, like Hermann Bahr's Die gute Schule,
reflects the author's experiences in the artistic world of Paris.
Clearly autobiographical too is CASAR FLAISCHLEN'S (1864-1920)
Jost Seyfried (1905), a novel in epistolary and diary form; it relates
the development (Werdegang) of a poet otfatJungstdeutscheBewegung
(another name given to their movement by the naturalists to show
their affinities to the revolutionary Jung Deutschland school of
1830-48). The spirit of the book is plaintively pessimistic: both
naturalism and symbolism are represented as having degenerated
from the soaring aims with which they began to a mechanical

1 Heiberg's novel Apotbeker Heinricb (1885) was praised by the naturalists,
but his matter-of-fact style earned him the title of V0r Rea/lsf der Nuchternheit*'.